6.8/10
1,233
22 user 11 critic

True Confession (1937)

Approved | | Comedy, Crime | 24 December 1937 (USA)
A lawyer defends his wife, a pathological liar, in a murder trial.

Director:

Wesley Ruggles

Writers:

Claude Binyon (screenplay), Louis Verneuil (play) | 1 more credit »
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Cast

Cast overview, first billed only:
Carole Lombard ... Helen Bartlett
Fred MacMurray ... Kenneth Bartlett
John Barrymore ... Charley Jasper
Una Merkel ... Daisy McClure
Porter Hall ... Mr. Hartman
Edgar Kennedy ... Darsey
Lynne Overman ... Bartender
Irving Bacon ... The Coroner
Fritz Feld ... Krayler's Butler
Richard Carle ... Judge
John T. Murray ... Otto Krayler
Tom Dugan ... McDougall (as Tommy Dugan)
Garry Owen Garry Owen ... Tony Krauch
Toby Wing ... Suzanne Baggart
Hattie McDaniel ... Ella
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Storyline

Helen and Ken are a pretty strange couple. She is a pathological liar, and he is a scrupulously honest (and therefore unsuccessful) lawyer. Helen starts a new job, and when her employer is found dead, all the (circumstantial) evidence points at her. She is put on trial for murder, and her husband defends her. He thinks she is lying again when she says she didn't do it, and insists she plead that she did, but in self defense. Charlie, a shady, odd character who may or may not know something about what really happened, hangs around the courtroom and jail making rude comments and noises. After Helen is acquitted, he tries to blackmail them. Written by John Oswalt <jao@jao.com>

Plot Summary | Add Synopsis

Plot Keywords:

lawyer | trial | secretary | liar | murder | See All (10) »

Genres:

Comedy | Crime

Certificate:

Approved | See all certifications »

Parents Guide:

View content advisory »
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Details

Country:

USA

Language:

English

Release Date:

24 December 1937 (USA) See more »

Also Known As:

La folle confession See more »

Company Credits

Production Co:

Paramount Pictures See more »
Show more on IMDbPro »

Technical Specs

Runtime:

Sound Mix:

Mono (Western Electric Mirrophonic Recording)

Aspect Ratio:

1.37 : 1
See full technical specs »
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Did You Know?

Trivia

Eleanor Fisher (who played the 'Reporter') won her part in this film after being crowned 'Miss Typical America' in a nationwide competition. At the time of the announcement she appeared in a number of high profile advertisements for Maybelline cosmetics. It was her only film role. See more »

Goofs

[All goofs for this title are spoilers.] See more »

Quotes

Kenneth Bartlett: Think of this all, of you, Helen Bartlett is not Helen Bartlett alone. Helen Bartlett is womankind. Has not womankind the sacred right to protect herself at any cost?
See more »

Connections

Version of Cross My Heart (1946) See more »

Soundtracks

True Confession
Music by Friedrich Hollaender (as Frederick Hollander)
Lyrics by Sam Coslow
See more »

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User Reviews

 
Right Out Of The Lucy Ricardo Playbook
10 March 2011 | by bkoganbingSee all my reviews

I think a whole lot of people don't really get this film from the reviews I'm reading. Carol Lombard who likes to spin tall tales of exaggeration is married to poor, but honest lawyer Fred MacMurray and tries her best to help.

The key scene here in True Confessions is right at the beginning when Lombard fetches MacMurray a client who happens to be guilty. Someone should have told Fred that only Perry Mason can afford to represent innocent clients only. So when he declines to be a lawyer for a man who will pay him out of the stolen hams he swiped from a butcher shop, Carol decides that he needs a name acquittal to gain him clients.

When she goes for a job with lecherous millionaire John Murphy who later winds up dead and circumstantial evidence points to her, she 'confesses' kind of, sort of to exasperated police detective Edgar Kennedy. It's enough to get her arrested and her husband his first real client.

It's all kind of dumb, but Lombard's scheme is right out of the Lucy Ricardo playbook. The trial is one for the books as well with District Attorney Porter Hall letting victory slip through his fingers.

Another character pops in to almost upset the applecart. John Barrymore who was cast in the part at Lombard's request to repay the debt she owed him from Twentieth Century plays a 'criminologist' down on his luck who comes across some key evidence that could upset everyone's plans. Sadly though Barrymore does a great job in the part, he's really not acting at all. The role is a caricature of what Barrymore had become. But it was a payday and I'm sure he was grateful to Lombard somewhat.

Playing Ethel to Lombard's Lucy is Una Merkel, a role she'd done before and would again. Lombard's 'True Confession' scene with Kennedy is a priceless one.

I'm sure Fred MacMurray felt in this last of four films in which they were paired that Carole had a lot of 'Splaining to do'.


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